The New Breed Jazz Jam, "Into The Arms Of Strangers," and more events of note in Madison this week.
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Comedian Nate Craig and hip-hop hitmaker DJ Pain 1 host the annual Townie Fest to benefit the Aaron J. Meyer Foundation, a local non-profit that provides housing for college students in treatment for substance-abuse problems. The night begins with a big raffle to raise money for the foundation, and wraps up with Pain 1 spinning a dance party. —Scott Gordon
FRIDAY DECEMBER 23
Former Madisonian Nate Palan, known locally for his work in bands including Hometown Sweethearts, The Kissers, and The God Damns, returns here for an annual show of "mini-big-band"-style renderings of holiday songs. Opening up are Madison band The August Teens, who are a bit of an under-appreciated local power-pop treasure, though they're still working on a proper follow-up to their 2010 album A Kiss In Wisconsin. Here they'll be playing a set of instrumental Christmas songs arranged in a surf-rock style (and occasionally with bits of non-Christmas songs cleverly mixed in), as captured on their 2013 holiday album Sleigher. The August Teens will be back at the High Noon on January 5, presumably focusing on their original material. —SG
Into The Arms Of Strangers: Stories Of The Kindertransport. Madison Public Library, Hawthorne Branch (2707 E. Washington Ave.), 7 p.m. (free)
Mark Jonathan Harris' 2000 documentary Into The Arms Of Strangers looks back on a less-appreciated but heroic episode of the Holocaust known as the Kindertransport. After Kristallnacht—the infamous Nazi-led pogrom in 1938—the British government opened the UK's borders to child refugees from Germany and German-occupied countries. In all, about 10,000 children made the journey between December 1938 and May 1940, when the Nazis took control of the Netherlands and essentially blocked the route. The parents stayed behind, many of them dying in the Holocaust and never seeing their children again. The documentary, narrated by Judi Dench, relies on historical footage and extensive interviews with several of the people who escaped during the Kindertransport and a couple of their rescuers. Into The Arms Of Strangers won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. —SG
TUESDAY DECEMBER 27
Singer, guitarist, and songwriter Matt Joyce, best known for his role in cosmic garage-pop outfit The Midwest Beat, has been hosting a series at Mickey's in which he invites songwriters from local rock bands to come and play solo sets. Usually there's a set from the guest, one from Joyce, and perhaps a bit of collaboration mixed in. This week, instead of another installment of the Super Serious Songwriter Series, Joyce will be flying solo. His original songs bring together strands of rugged country and folk, throwback power-pop, and psych-rock, and he tends to have a few good covers up his sleeve as well. —SG
The Cardinal's New Breed Jazz Jam on Tuesday nights is a local gem that more folks should drop in on. The core group—bassist Nick Moran, drummer Michael Brenneis, and Fender Rhodes player Paul Hastil—are all experienced, versatile musicians who've spent years playing in a number of styles within and outside of jazz. Usually the first set consists of the core band and a special guest player pulling out standards and a few originals, sometimes with a theme around a chosen great jazz composer. After that, the group jams with whoever comes with an instrument and signs up, in a tasteful but friendly collaboration. This week, Moran is out of town and another accomplished Madison bassist, John Christensen, will take his place. —SG